New York’s chief public defense lawyer wants city to turn over info about botched DNA cases to insure there were no false convictions

New York Legal Aid Society
Jan. 14, 2013
 
A former New York City laboratory technician made serious mistakes involving DNA evidence in 843 rape cases. The city’s chief defender, Steven Banks, is demanding that the city turn over information it is reviewing.

“Up to this point,” Mr. Banks said, “they have not made information available to us, as the primary defender in New York City, to determine whether there’s an injustice that’s been done in past cases, pending cases, or allowing us to be on the lookout in future cases.” He added, “If it could happen with one analyst, how does anyone know that it stops there?”

According to the New York Times:

Especially alarming to defense lawyers was the possibility that DNA samples were cross-contaminated and led to false convictions, or could do so in the future.
 
“Up to this point,” Mr. Banks said, “they have not made information available to us, as the primary defender in New York City, to determine whether there’s an injustice that’s been done in past cases, pending cases, or allowing us to be on the lookout in future cases.” He added, “If it could happen with one analyst, how does anyone know that it stops there?”
 
The medical examiner’s office has said that the risk of cross-contamination was extremely low and that it does not appear that anyone was wrongly convicted in the cases that have been reviewed so far. And officials in at least two of the city’s district attorneys’ offices — for Brooklyn and Manhattan — said they had not found any erroneous convictions.
 
But Mr. Banks said the authorities needed to do more, and that their statements thus far were the equivalent of “trust us.”

“Given what’s happened,” he said, “that’s cold comfort.”

Source: http://www.legal-aid.org/en/mediaandpublicinformation/inthenews/informationoncasesthecitymedicalexaminerisreviewingforerrors.aspx